How Families Can Overcome Substance Abuse | Legacy Healing Center
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Support for Families Affected by Addiction

Written By Legacy Healing Center - Nov 17 2020

Support for Families Affected by Addiction

Table of Contents

Getting Support for Yourself When a Loved One Is Addicted

Watching someone you love struggle with addiction presents many challenges and heartaches. Trust is often damaged, feelings are hurt, and both the family and the addict may feel hopeless. However, with support, treatment, and focused effort, recovery is always possible. One of the keys to successful recovery from substance abuse is getting all family members impacted by the addiction involved in the treatment process.

Understanding Addiction as a Family Disease

While only one person in the family may be struggling with substance abuse, their addiction can impact the entire family and their network of friends. When a person remains in active addiction, they are not themselves. They may begin to adopt behaviors they have never displayed before. Some new negative traits you might see include: 

  • Irritability 
  • Dishonesty 
  • Neglect 
  • Violence 

When the addict is a parent, it can create even more instability in the home. Children exposed to substance abuse in the home are at risk of continuing the cycle of addiction as adults and are more likely to struggle with mental health issues. Additionally, suppose the addiction prohibits the parent from being able to care for their children appropriately. In that case, other family members, including young children, are often left to step in and assume care of the child.   

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Strategies That Will Help You and Your Loved One

Caring for someone who has been consumed by addiction can bring up a range of emotions, including heartbreak and frustration. If you have not personally experienced addiction, it may be difficult for you to empathize or understand your loved one’s struggles.

Being aware of your personal biases can go a long way in helping you communicate effectively. You must remember a person is not their addiction, and although they may have made some hurtful choices, they are still family and worthy of your unconditional love and support.   

Here are some tips to help you and your loved one overcome addiction together: 

Have an Open and Honest Discussion

Before attempting to have this difficult conversation, you must prepare properly. Your family member will likely become defensive or upset so knowing how you will react to that is important. Writing out a letter or some points you want to touch on may help you if your nerves kick in and find that you suddenly don’t know what to say. Utilize other members of your family that have been impacted by substance abuse. They should also be present during this conversation to offer additional support and speak to how it has affected them. If possible, try to have this conversation when the person is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Ideally, this will prevent them from making promises that they are unable to keep. The most important aspect entails articulating your concerns and your expectations for change while remaining respectful and loving. 

Be Loving But Firm

A key piece of beginning your treatment involves letting go of the idea that you have in some way caused your loved one’s addiction and any guilt you may feel about it. Once you have come to terms with this, you can begin to set healthy boundaries for your loved one. It is possible to love someone while not necessarily loving the choices they are making. While encouraging someone to seek treatment, it’s important not to enable them in any way but to encourage them to seek the help they need. 

Seek Out Support

Families who have loved ones struggling with addiction need all the support they can get. Fortunately, you are not alone in your quest to help yourself and your family member. There is an abundance of resources available to assist you. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and 12-Step meetings provide a safe space to self-reflect and share experiences that others can relate to. These groups are often led by licensed clinicians who can offer clinical insight into your experiences. Support groups can also connect you with additional resources in your community to help combat the addiction. 

Where Families Can Find Support 

If you are ready to address your concerns for yourself and your loved one, Legacy Healing has a range of resources and support groups. At Legacy Healing Center, we offer numerous family programs and counseling to ensure the entire family can work through addiction issues. For more information on treatment options, our addiction specialists are available on our confidential helpline (888) 534-2295. With hard work, empathy, and understanding, you and your family can overcome the struggle of addiction together.

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